Board seeks budget within 4 percent hike

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TURNER – Next year’s SAD 52 budget will most likely not exceed this year’s $20.6 million by more than 4 percent.

Despite teacher salary increases of 4 percent, a move to full-day kindergarten and predicted higher fuel and diesel costs, district directors and the superintendent have made enough cuts to keep within the self-imposed 4 percent limit. Final decisions on line items will be made Thursday at Leeds Central School before a budget proposal is presented at hearings in the three towns prior to the district vote in June.

Meeting last week, the board voted to terminate the school resource officer position to save about $60,000 annually. The position originated with federal grant funding three years ago, and the district contracted with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department for an officer. Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Lafrance and the officer, Nelson Peters, and former longtime school board member Larry Hathaway asked to continue the program under local funding, but to no avail.

The $138,216 being saved by closing the River Valley School alternative education program was divided in three ways, with $45,000 to pay down a day-care debt, $40,000 to keep the budget increase at 4 percent and the remainder for conversion of the River Valley School classrooms to district office space.

After additions to and reductions from more than 35 line items, the board reduced spending proposals by $53,229.

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